Monday, February 26, 2018

middle-eastern chicken burgers and chickpeas

This meal reminded me of some Lebanese food we had in London in 2016 at the drool-worthy Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington right near the Natural History Museum. I actually got this recipe from my friend Hiukei who got it from Smitten Kitchen (recipe here). 

The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for ground turkey and panko breadcrumbs for the meatballs, but I subbed ground chicken and a mixture of rice and almond flours, and because of the different consistency, fried them in the frying pan instead of rolling into balls and baking. But I did roast the turmeric chickpeas in the oven. 

To the lemony onion side dish that Smitten Kitchen talks about, I also added cucumbers, purple cabbage, some sweet red pepper, and a splash of olive oil. And I made some quinoa in the rice cooker, too, to sop everything up.

Warm quinoa, cumin-y tender chicken burgers, roasted chickpeas and onions, crunchy lemony raw veggies, and a lemon-yogurt sauce to top it all off (I did have to take an enzyme to help me handle the dairy, which helps, but not completely). I don't think I even need to say how ravenously delicious this was. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

cottage pie (version 18.0)

I don't know how many times I've made cottage pie, but however many times that is, that's how many versions I've developed. This time I made a mixture of kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and white potatoes for the topping.

You'll need:

  • about 5 small white potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 Japanese kabocha, chopped and with skin left on
  • milk (I used soy)
  • butter (about 2 or 3 tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper 
  • nutmeg
  • ground beef and pork mixture (about 600 grams)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • parsley for sprinkling
Do this:

Boil the potatoes and kabocha together, then drain, mash, and add some milk, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

In a frying pan, cook the onion, carrot, garlic, and sweet pepper till soft, then add in the ground beef and pork, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook till the meat is cooked through.

In an oven-safe pan, put the meat mixture in the bottom, spread the mash on top and sprinkle with parsley. Dot with bits of butter and bake for 30 minutes at 180 C.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

belizean meal

This week was Joel's turn to pick his favorite country from the boys' geography encyclopedia and cook a meal based on that cuisine. He chose Belize.

We researched and came up with this menu:
  • rice and kidney beans with pork, coconut milk, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper
  • shrimp ceviche: boiled chopped shrimp, salt, lime juice, onions, cilantro (coriander) leaves, and tomatoes
  • fudge with peanuts and coconut (sweetened condensed milk, white sugar, vanilla, butter, peanuts, and coconut)

Next up: Matthew goes to Germany!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

gluten-free and dairy-free carrot-apple-raisin cake made with kinako and rice flour

My friend Sanae knows that I try to cook without wheat or dairy, and she sent me this lovely carrot-raisin cake recipe from Cookpad (which is in Japanese). It's made with rice flour and kinako, which is roasted soybean flour and has a lovely subtly-sweet nutty flavor.

I double it, and add a few of my own additions, like the apple and warm spices. I make the double version in an 8X8-inch glass cake pan, which I oil beforehand. Here's my Mamatouille version.

You'll need:
  • 120 g rice flour
  • 60 g kinako (roasted soybean flour)
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 2 carrots (about 200 g), very finely grated 
  • 40 g raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped tiny
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons oil (I use grapeseed because of its neutral flavor)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger to taste
  • a little splash of soy milk if the mixture is too dry
Do this:

In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients, and in a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add in the liquid ingredients, including the carrots, apple, and raisins. Combine everything and mix well. I find the batter can be a bit dry, so I splash in a little bit of soy milk if needed. 

Bake at 180 C until done, about 30 minutes or so. It comes out moist and with just the right amount of sweetness--not too much to be overpowering, but just enough to make you feel like you've had a real dessert. And I won't deny that we've each had a slice for breakfast.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

lentil-kabocha-coconut-milk curry

Do you have kabocha squash where you live? It's got a dark green skin and inside is bright orange. If you don't have access to it, any kind of pumpkin or squash will do for this recipe.

Another Mamatouille original, created in my Mamatouille Test Kitchen (aka our tiny Japanese daidokoro).

You'll need:

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 veggie (or meat) stock cube
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • many, many cloves of garlic, minced
  • a knob of ginger, grated
  • dash cardamom
  • dash hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 kabocha, chopped into bite-sized pieces (leave the skin on, Japanese style)
  • 1 can coconut milk (15 ounces or 425 grams)
  • cooked rice, for serving
  • for accompanying salad: cucumber, tomato, sweet yellow pepper, cilantro (coriander) leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, ground cumin and coriander
Do this:

In a large stock pot, cook 1 cup dried lentils with 2.5 cups water, 1 veggie stock cube, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 bay leaf. When they are soft, about 20 minutes later, turn off the heat. You will not need to drain any liquid because it should pretty much all be absorbed. (I got the method for cooking lentils from page 105 in my More with Less cookbook.)

In a skillet, saute the onion, ginger, and garlic in a little coconut oil. When it's softened and a little browned, add the pepper, cardamom, hot paprika, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and curry powder. If you need to, add a bit more coconut oil. Stir it around a few minutes till it's aromatic and making you really, really hungry.

Pour the onion and spice mixture into the pot of lentils, along with 1/2 cup water and the chopped kabocha. Simmer till the kabocha is soft, then add the can of coconut milk. Taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed. Serve over rice with cilantro/coriander leaves and the side salad. 

Put your ear plugs in because the family will be shouting their praises. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

snowy day

After clearing snow, it was a spicy-hot- chocolate- (with cinnamon, chicory, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom) and-popcorn afternoon, and it's a kabocha-and-sweet-potato-hash kind of night.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

algerian chicken stew

The fragrance of Algerian chicken stew--oh my! Like inhaling heaven.

This recipe is from Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook, and involves garlic, onions, cumin, basil, bay leaves, and other wonderful items. I change it and use whatever veggies I have on hand. It says to serve over couscous, but I made quinoa in the rice cooker to go with it instead.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2 days; 2 smooothies

Still plowing ahead with a lunchtime smoothie almost every day! It's a wonderful way to get loads of raw greens in one go. Today's was avocado, banana, navel orange, fresh ginger, mint leaves, and komatsuna greens (you can sub in raw greens of your choosing).

Yesterday I threw in some frozen berries, a navel orange, a banana, fresh ginger, cabbage, and lemon juice.

Here's how I layer the smoothies in the blender: first goes in soft, squishy foods like bananas and avocados, then the greens, and if I have anything hard or heavy, like a chopped carrot or frozen fruit, I put that on the top to push everything else down toward the blade. I also add water to all my smoothies for easier blending. Chia seeds are good too!

Friday, October 20, 2017

easy hummus

I can't just pop into a grocery store in Japan and buy hummus because they just don't sell it here. I can, however, throw a couple cans of cooked chickpeas and a few other staples in the blender and whirr away my Middle Eastern food cravings.
My blender cookbook has an easy recipe, and I usually double it.

You'll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (in Japanese, this sesame paste is called neri goma and is sold in regular grocery stores)
  • 1 clove garlic, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I can't get kosher salt here, so I use sea salt)
  • one 15-ounce (425-gram) can of chickpeas (save the liquid!)
  • 1/4 cup chickpea liquid
Do this:

Put it all in the blender and whizz it up. I serve it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

slow-cooker salsa chicken meal

I don't know where I found this tip, but a great way to keep herbs fresh is to put them in a glass jar of water and cover with a plastic bag in the fridge. Works great! This jar-full happens to be cilantro (coriander), which I love on curries or Mexican food.

A meal we've come to love recently is cobbled together from various recipes. I serve the salsa chicken over rice.

 You'll need:

  • boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
  • salsa, medium heat
  • one onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • a splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
Do this:

Add all of the above ingredients to a slow cooker, and set to cook on low heat for about 8 hours. When it's done, shred with two forks.

Here are the side dishes I serve with it: lettuce, cilantro leaves, black olives, corn chips, sliced green onions, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes or more salsa, and sauteed garlicky corn (saute chopped purple onion in a frying pan in a neutral-flavored oil, then add thawed corn and minced garlic, and finally add some salt and pepper).

curried salmon croquettes

Curried salmon croquettes ready to fry up when we get home from calligraphy class. Ingredients: canned salmon, beaten eggs, sifted coconut flour, onion, garlic, parsley, turmeric, curry powder, salt and pepper, mayo, mustard, and rolled in golden flaxseed meal. Yummy served with lemon wedges, and for a side dish we have rice cooked in the rice cooker with chopped sweet potatoes. Lovely with coleslaw as well.

All done:

Monday, September 4, 2017

persian eggplant and tomato beef dish (gheimeh baademjaan)

Well, this was just absolutely delicious.

I had eggplants in the house that needed to be used up, so I just searched for a Middle Eastern dish with eggplant and ground beef. Voila!

Here's the recipe I used, and instead of searing the eggplant and doing all the fiddly bits, I just did it all in one pan in one go. It worked, and everybody raved about it. (I served it over quinoa, which I make in the rice cooker. So easy: you just double the amount of water, so if you're making two cups of quinoa, add four cups of water.)

You'll need:

  • 1 large eggplant (or a number of the small Japanese variety), chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • lots of minced garlic
  • olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste (I used less than this)

Do this:

Saute everything except the tomatoes, then add them in, stir till they are soft, and serve over quinoa.

Muy muy delicioso! I'm going to be making this every couple weeks for sure.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

gluten-free dairy-free chocolate-chicory-walnut mug muffins

Here's a new Mamatouille riff on a mug muffin recipe we use quite a lot. The chicory and dark cocoa powder added wonderful depths of flavor.

You'll need (per muffin):

  • a greased mug
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon chicory powder
  • chopped walnut
Do this:

Beat everything except the walnuts in a mug with a whisk. When everything is pretty happy and blended, throw in some chopped walnuts. Microwave for 1.5 minutes (or bake in the oven if that's your preference and you have the time).


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

ginger-citrus-carrot-cabbage smoothie (with a few extras)

I've been making green (well, sometimes purple or orange) smoothies since 2009 when I first started reading about the fantastic properties of raw veggies. And I have to admit, this is probably one of my favorites so far.

For four servings, blend 1 apple with peel, 1 large avocado, 1 carrot, 1/4 head cabbage, a knob of freshly-grated ginger, lemon juice, and water.

It's smooth and tangy with all those great flavors.

Friday, July 28, 2017

coconut-kale smoothie

Today's lunchtime accompaniment was coconutty and smooth.

Just blend banana, avocado, navel orange, coconut cream, kale, lemon juice, water, and chia seeds.